MP Hughes calls US tariffs ‘bullying tactics’ by Trump government

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MANITOULIN—Carol Hughes, MP for Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing said the U.S. government, is employing bullying tactics when it imposes tariffs on steel and aluminum products from Canada.

“I am extremely disappointed with the bullying tactics of president Donald Trump and the US government,” stated Ms. Hughes last week. “The president has been threatening Canada for quite some time now and now there are 146,000 steel and aluminum workers who are being impacted and have concerns for their future and their companies. This will have huge negative effects in regards to steel manufacturers, the auto industry, and businesses.”

Mr. Trump and his government placed a 25 percent steel tariff and 10 percent tariff on aluminum in Canada, effective May 31. The decision was made under section 232 of the US Trade Expansion Act, US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is now calling U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to place tariffs on Canadian aluminum and steel “punitive” and “totally unacceptable” and has outlined dollar-for dollar retaliation.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland outlined Ottawa’s planned retaliatory measures that will take effect on July 1, and stay in place until the US backs down.

During a press conference, Mr. Trudeau described this moment as “a turning point in the Canada-US relationship.”

Canada’s counter measures amount up to $16.6 billion in imports of steel, aluminum, and other products from the United States, subject to either a 25 or 10 percent surtax. This represents the value of the 2017 Canadian exports affected by Trump’s move. Among the additional products originating from the US that may be subject to surtax, pending a 15 day consultation with Canadians for further refinement include such things as specific types of coffee, prepared meals, pizza, chocolate, condiments, toiletries, beer kegs, whiskies, various household items and motorboats.

Canada selected goods that they can easily replace with local or international alternatives, keeping in mind the cost to Canadians.

Mr. Trudeau said the tariffs will harm workers and supply chains on both sides of the Canada-US border and invoked the long-standing military ties between the two countries.

“These tariffs are an affront to the long-standing security partnership between Canada and the United States, and in particular, to the thousands of Canadians who have fought and died alongside American comrades-in-arms,” Mr. Trudeau said. He noted, “Americans remain our partners, our allies and our friends. This is not about the American people. We have to believe that at some point common sense will prevail. But we see no sign of that in this action today by the US administration.”  

Ms. Hughes said, “I agree with the retaliatory tariffs our government has put in place, but it won’t save jobs. And why is it that these (Canadian) tariffs will not take place for the next 30 days? I don’t think waiting 30 days to impose the retaliatory sanctions will help.”